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RAPID SHIFTS IN THE ARCTIC SYSTEM : Implications for vulnerability and resilience John E. Walsh ARCUS Arctic Forum 2003. “If you take the last 100,000 years from the Greenland ice core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

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RAPID SHIFTS IN THE

ARCTIC SYSTEM :

Implications for vulnerability and resilience

John E. Walsh

ARCUS Arctic Forum 2003


“If you take the last 100,000 years from the Greenland ice core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

- Richard Alley/Earth and Sky


GRIP ice core temperature reconstruction core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

from Dansgaard et al. (1993)


· core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”Assess recent Arctic changes in context of abrupt changes of the past·Highlight issues of resilience and vulnerability to abrupt changes·Examine some projections of changes in the Arctic

Objectives :


Abrupt climate change core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

from CLIVAR/PAGES


The Younger-Dryas changes of ~12K BP were abrupt. core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”·Smaller changes have had large impacts on people e.g., Viking settlements in Greenland·Although climate has been relatively quiescent during the past few thousand years, greenhouse gas emissions may alter the likelihood of abrupt climate changes


Surface temperature trend - recent 1000 years core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

from Michael Mann


Abrupt climate change core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

from CLIVAR/PAGES


Surface air temperature : January core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

(1977-1986) – (1966-1975)


Arctic surface air temperature anomalies core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

from Polyakov et al. (2002)


Spawning stock biomass of herring core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

in the Nordic Seas

from Torensen and Ostvedt (2000)


Vulnerability = Impacts - Adaptive Capacity core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”Vulnerability decreases as adaptive capacity increases-- increasing size and interconnectedness of system provide more possibilities for compensation within the system


Net economic value core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


Variability of total U.S. farm output : 1929-2000 core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


Relative variability of U.S. farm output as share of total domestic product : 1929-2000

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


Longer-term domestic product : 1929-2000 vulnerability decreases with 1) Longer warning time 2) Decreased lifetime (infrastructure, capital investment)(Both enhance adaptability)


Vulnerability of capital stocks domestic product : 1929-2000

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


How might 21 domestic product : 1929-2000st-century climate change test the vulnerability and adaptability of the Arctic system?growing season length open water season length sea level coastal storms, erosion permafrost degradation fire frequency


CCC growing season - T domestic product : 1929-2000min greater than 0 °C

(2071-2090) - (1976-1995)


Projected sea level rise domestic product : 1929-2000

from IPCC (2001)


Projected continuous permafrost area : 5 GCMs domestic product : 1929-2000


Projected total domestic product : 1929-2000permafrost area : 5 GCMs


Sfc. air temperature : (high-low) fire severity composite domestic product : 1929-2000

March-July 1951-2002


Key uncertainties in vulnerability ( = domestic product : 1929-2000impacts-adaptability)Uncertainties in impacts:• climate change scenarios from coarse models are highly uncertain -- large scatter among models -- common errors• local effects are not captured by climate model projections• changes in variability will likely be at least as important as changes in the mean


Uncertainties in domestic product : 1929-2000adaptive capacity:• Non-climatic factors (societal, cultural, economic, technological) are at least as difficult to anticipate as climate change


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